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Default Any comics fans here?

July 31st, 2007, 17:39
I just got back from France; spent a month there. One of the many things I like about it is the respect comics (bandes dessinées, BD for short) get there. The variety is huge, most bookshops have a pretty decent selection, and it's not hard to find shops with huge collections.

Any other comics fans here? I'm mostly into Franco-Belgian stuff; I'm simply not very well aware of what's worth reading on the English-language side, even if I've been meaning to pick up a Sandman or Sin City one of these days.

Some current favorites in my bookshelf:

* Anything by Bourgeon. The guy must be unbelievably patient to get all that detail in, and although he seems to have the same pretty shallow characters in all of the books (as well as a serious thing for redheads), I keep going back to them. My favorite series is still his first one, Les Passagers du Vent, set on an 18th century slave ship and its ports of call. I liked the latest one (Le Cycle de Cyann) almost as much — it's a sci-fi universe realized in absolutely unbelievable detail, only comparable to the Star Wars universe after a couple of decades of adding on. Heavy on T&A to the point of being a bit gratuitous at times, though. Les Compagnons de Crepuscule I didn't like quite as much; I've read it several times and still don't quite "get" it — there's way too much stuff in there that's not only left unexplained but seems completely disconnected from anything.

* The Arcanes/Arcane Majeur series. Puts X-Files to shame; a coherent mythology putting a new twist on contemporary history and events, really well drawn and tightly written while being complex enough to stand (or even require!) several re-readings. (Wanna know who *really* assassinated JFK, what Charlie Manson had to do with it and where he came from, why, against all odds, Lenin pulled off his little coup and again, against all odds, how it all suddenly imploded? Look no further…)

I haven't read the Histoire Secrète series which is in the same "universe" and is often cross-referenced; I'll probably pick it up or order it somewhere along the line.

* Corto Maltese, except the latest stuff when Hugo Pratt was already a bit ga-ga. (Mu was kinda lame.) My favorite is Ballade de la Mer Salée, with Tango a close second.

* Le Chat du Rabbin, by Joann Sfar. Totally different genre and very very hard to describe. You could say that it's the biography of a talking cat belonging to a certain rabbi named Sfar in pre-WW2 Algiers, or that it's the story of Zlabya, the rabbi's daughter, or that it's all about Jewish philosophy and the Talmud, or that it's a commentary on the state of the Middle East today and how it got there, that it's about racism, that it's about marriage, that it's about love, or faith, or Judaism, or any of a number of other things, and you'd still get completely the wrong idea. Currently in its fifth volume, which IMO was the weakest of the bunch but still head and shoulders better than most of the stuff out there. (Incidentally, I've also read a few others by Joann Sfar and didn't like them nearly as much.)

* Silence, by Didier Comès. To my recollection, the only comic that's ever made me actually cry. I always hand it to people who feel that comics can't be a serious art form (whatever that may mean).

(As an aside, I never really got much out of Bilal and find Moebius/Gir actually bad to the point of being irritating. I've no idea how the dog-stupid Incal series manages to stay in print year after year…)

How about your favorites?
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July 31st, 2007, 20:39
Well, PJ, my tastes are more… mundane, to say the least, so I'm afraid you won't like my favorites at all.

Unlike my former boss I'm not much into Franco-Belgian comics (unless you count Asterix); I have read a lot in the Seventies and a lot in the Nineties, not so much since then (for some strange reason, reading and writing seem to be mutually exclusive). Some of my favorite comic books/series are/were

- most of the DC superhero series of the 70s, especially L.E.G.I.O.N. and Wonder Woman; Batman used to be a nice read, too, and while I ventured out to read other DC stuff as well (like Green Lantern, Superman, Aquaman, Flash and so on), I always returned to my favorite two DC titles.
I also read some Marvel titles (namely Fantastic Four and Spiderman), but they never really appealed to me.

- Many, many 90s titles by Image Comics: Cyberforce, WildC.A.T.S, Brigade, Wetworks, Supreme, Bloodstrike, Stormwatch, Glory and Backlash, among others. My favorite series of these was Bloodstrike - actually three series; Bloodstrike, later Team Bloodstrike and then Bloodstrike: Assassin. These Rob Liefeld comic series were really bad… not as well-colored as most of the other series, and a tad gory at that. But I loved them. I mean, hey, everybody loves a team of undead government assassins. Nobody but me liked the series, though, and so it ended in the middle of a story arc *shrugs*. Right, and I never managed to get one issue - 18 or 19, I forgot which one. It's not overly important nowadays because I forgot where I stashed my Image comics when I moved house in 1998. Haven't seen them since then.

- Another unfinished 90s series, this time by Malibu Comics: The Man called A°X. I loved the plot twist.

- Pretty much everything by Enki Bilal. I LOVE his style. My favorite series/book is the Nikopol one (who would have guessed this?), but I have more of his works. I was an avid reader of Metal Hurlant/ Schwermetall/Heavy Metal magazine back in the 80s, so there - I liked most of the featured artists, *especially* Bilal, Moebius, Caza and Druillet.

- Manga: I like pretty much everything by Masamune Shirow. I have tons of Appleseed, Ghost in the Shell, Dominion and Black Magic. Another favorite of mine is Hiroaki Samura's series Blade of the Immortal.

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July 31st, 2007, 21:08
I don't not like your favorites as much as not know them. I've read a couple of DC superhero comics, but couldn't really make head or tail out of them — I got the impression that you have to understand the underlying mythology to get them, which would have meant more reading. So I don't have any opinion about them at all. And I hate to say I've never even heard of Image Comics.

Metal Hurlant published some great stuff for sure, and there I get the impression that our tastes do differ a quite a bit. Uh… wanna buy an Incal series, good condition, with Cinquième Essence Part 2 a first edition?
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July 31st, 2007, 21:46
Well, even if I took this literally - knowing your mythology would be good for some chuckles (at least where Wonder Woman was concerned). But seriously, it was and still is a problem with superhero comics in general: you need to read a lot, the best would be to start at issue No. 1, and you need to do a lot of cross-reading. Crossovers were extremely popular back then.

Image Comics were founded by a group of former Marvel artists. For the most part, Image comics were pure eye-candy: beautifully colored, overly violent, and they often featured rather scantily-clad girls (not Bloodstrike: this one was sloppily drawn, sloppily colored, and just bloody). Storylines were average-to-weak, yet I somehow liked exactly *these* trademark Image comics - the ones univocally despised by critics back then. The better-reputed ICs (like Spawn) were not quite my cup of tea.

About the Incal - no thanks . It's not that I didn't like Moebius, but as I said, I just don't find the time to read much anymore.

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July 31st, 2007, 21:55
I found my old Tintin ( = Tim und Struppy) collection last week. Unfortunately my taste seems to have shifted. 15 years ago I loved Tintin, but now I think I´ve seen too many Herge clones to appreciate the original. The series is still above average because the characters are original, but generally it´s showing it´s age. Most Tintin albums were written in the 30s-50s.

My favourite comic is The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller. A rather unspectular choice, it´s widely regarded as one of the best comics ever.

I liked a lot of comics (read: author comics, not the anonymous stuff) released under the Zack! label in the 70s. Most of them were from France or Belgium. Everything from Asterix and Lucky Luke over Blueberry to Rick Master (aka Rick aka Rick Hochet) or Yoko Tsuno.
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July 31st, 2007, 22:08
There is at least one other Asterix lover here, Jaz. I simply had to get them all and I enjoy reading them over and over. It's like a simpson episode with the sometimes very subtle humor. I'm talking about when you place the drawing in the actual time frame it was created and then see the small stuf -> Asterix and the Belgians had a small drawing of Eddy Merckx and not all people notice it right away. Offcourse there is also the more obvious humor, but at that point it's the drawing itself that makes me laugh the most. (That grin on there faces -> if there are emoticons that could express that grin, I'd use them in every post)

The kind of commics I like to read the most are the funny, not so serious kind. We have them in the local newspaper and next to the daily cartoon (see example in the daily smile), we also have a commic like for example Kidd Paddle and some others of a similar kind (little 'Spirou' = "De kleine Robbe")

I have a few more 'serious' commics, but most of them are from childhood, so not really the mature kind of them: Storm, Thorgal, Largo Winch and Yoko Tsuno.
Two other brands I like are Nero (nope, ot the emperor, not at all) and 'Piet Pienter & Bert Bibber', but again these fall under the less serious kind and are much more comparable with Asterix then with Largo Winch.
A bit of a summarize for all the other brands like 'De Rode Ridder', 'Suske en Wiske' (Bob et Bobbette in French, but Dutch is the original language), 'Kiekeboe', 'Jommeke', 'De Geuzen', 'Urbanus' and a few others. The total figure is around 500.

so very, very tired (Star Trek XI quote according to the Simpsons)
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July 31st, 2007, 22:10
I guess My tastes are a bit more contemporary:

Anything from Neil Gaiman (but especially anything from the Sandman from
brief lives and afterwards).

Most things by Alan Moore (Especially the Watchmen and some Swampthing stuff)

Talbot's Luther Arkwright

Mignolla's Hellboy (the movie is such a misrepresentation of that unique
minimalistic style and pulp-gothic feel of the series..)

How could I forget, Hellblazer (especially The G.Ennis run)

I also have a soft spot for the Bone series and the mostly unknown Castle
Waiting

PS: Gah, new ones keep poping into my mind but this is the last one I concider
a huge omission on my part: Lone wolf and cub…
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July 31st, 2007, 22:18
Ah, the classics… Asterix rules, Lucky Luke is almost as much fun, and Tintin… well, let's say that Tintin is a very mixed bag. I really like a few of them, a few others are really dorky and/or dated, and others are just indifferent. I don't think I've read more than one or two Ric Hochet's, Yoko Tsunos or Blueberries, but I liked Spirou et Fantasio a lot as well as some of Franquin's more offbeat stuff (like the Idées Noires series).

Another one I like from around then is Gotlib — some of his Dingodossiers and Rubrique-à-bracs are unbelievably funny. It also pokes great fun at the whole "BD" genre. Not to mention that utterly and completely unique comic hero, Pervers Pépère.

I'll really have to read some Frank Miller one of these days…
Last edited by Prime Junta; July 31st, 2007 at 22:21. Reason: Typos…
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July 31st, 2007, 22:25
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
I'll really have to read some Frank Miller one of these days…
All Sin City book are highly recommended ofcourse for their excellent Film
Noir atmosphere and style.

300 was a bit mediocre (but not bad, another comic misrepresented by the
movie, quite the opposite for SinCity which, though a pastiche, transmited
quite adequately the comic's "taste")
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July 31st, 2007, 22:27
I used to read Jommeke, my sister read Kiekeboe when she was small. I also read all the Asterix albums, very funny, but some of them are quite repetitive (the story, I mean). Obelix and Asterix go somewhere and Obelix beats the hell out of every legionary.
Asterix and Obelix, the movies are great, but I'd only recommend them to people who understand French, since the jokes really lose a lot when translated. I don't know about the albums, but Asterix et Obelix chez Cleopatre, the movie really has so many inside jokes of French comedians and politics that I don't even understand everything.

I also mostly preferred watching comics on tv than reading them, except for Jommeke and Asterix. Like Tintin, X-Men… all on TV.
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July 31st, 2007, 22:33
It may sound strange, but comming from Belgium I don't like Tintin at all. Then again if you take it also in notice that I don't like Belgium so much …

@JonNik: I know the both the movies and I agree with you, but I don't know much of 'those kind of commics', unless that it is the largest one.(The hero commics I call them, like thos of Marvel)

so very, very tired (Star Trek XI quote according to the Simpsons)
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July 31st, 2007, 22:45
I take it you mean that you have not read either Sin City or 300 ?

None of them can be considered "hero comics" (in the Way of X-men that I
guess you have in mind).

I guess none on my list are (ofcourse all comics must have some kind of hero
even if its an anti-hero ). Some are a study of what a hero actually is and
comics in general (Watchmen). Others twist and deform the hero concept and
some basic tenets of the medium in general (i.e The Sandman).

Damn this thread brought back some fond memories . If I didnt have a
huge to-read pile of books waiting for me I'd probably pickup the Sandman
again at the least…
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July 31st, 2007, 22:49
IMHO the Asterix albums are much better than the movies. The German translation may have helped this impression, but nevertheless I doubt even a perfectly dubbed Asterix movie can reach the brilliancy of Goscinny (writer) & Uderzo (illustrator).
So if you liked the movies by all means read the albums. At least the ones made before Goscinny´s death 1977.


Reg. Frank Miller:
I only read The Dark Knight Returns. It´s a true masterpiece. It has nothing, absolutely nothing in common with the old, colorful Batman comics, except the characters of course. The drawings are artsy and extravagant, the story cynical. Batman´s old enemies come back, Batman is 60 years old and retired. He returns to the scene and runs amok! The whole comic is a massacre. It´s impact can be compared to the early John Woo movies like Hard Boiled or A Better Tomorrow.
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July 31st, 2007, 22:52
I've post a bit weird in my previous one. I linked two sentences when it was meant to be like this: @JonNik: I know the both the movies and I agree with you, but I haven't read the commis so far. I don't know much of 'those kind of commics' Jaz is talking about, unless that it is the largest one.(The hero commics I call them, like those of Marvel)
A bit more clarity helps, doesn't it

At least the ones made before Goscinny´s death 1977.
You're right Gorath, cause the two last additions doesn't do the brand credit.

so very, very tired (Star Trek XI quote according to the Simpsons)
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July 31st, 2007, 23:04
Originally Posted by Gorath View Post
Reg. Frank Miller:
I only read The Dark Knight Returns. It´s a true masterpiece.
Another great omission on my part ! (although I dont have it in my Library
and just borrowed it once from a Friend, I mean to buy it sometime). It is
indeed Miller's crowning achievement and it sparked the Rebirth of Batman
(pretty dead by then) to the Dark-gothic contemporary style departing from
the old florid one as Gorath says.
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August 1st, 2007, 00:10
Gorath: The first Asterix movie is just a mixture of some jokes with a beautiful woman and Gerard Depardieu. The second however is so funny. I don't know how it is in German, but in French, wow.
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August 1st, 2007, 00:40
I love comics, but I fear I have a very simple and gritty taste

From our french neighbours I like the Requiem, Chronicles of the Black Moon and 666/6666 Series, from the americans I still read the Conan-Comics from Black Horse Comics, Knights of the Dinner Table and Tarot (I come for the Story and stayed for the boobies )

I fear the last (interesting) german Comics are Moers "little Asshole" and "Adolf"-Series - both very eeevil but hillarious Stuff if you are into black humor…

There were once great american Fantasy-Comics like Books of Lore, Far West, Battle Chasers, Legendlore, Warlands and Tellos, but I guess they are long gone…

The Germans are a cruel race. Their operas last for six hours and they have no word for "fluffy".

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August 1st, 2007, 00:59
I quit collecting them a while ago, but after my superheros/antiheros in spandex stuff finally died out (Punisher,Spidey,etc), I got into the dark and dramatic stuff. My favorite is pretty much anything by Joseph Michael Linsner (Cry for Dawn) and Drew Hayes (Poison Elves). To my delight, both Linsner and Hayes were picked up by Sirius comics, and they started to get the recognition they deserve. In my opinion.

Time moved on, comics got more expensive, I got a computer. Still got a whole box of them, the original Cry for Dawns are worth some bux now. Most likely never part with them tho, I like them too much.

I have a ton of off the wall stuff, Vampirella, Lady Death, evil ernie, vampires, werewolves, etc. Also got a bunch of Furry Freak Brothers too, just for accent!
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August 1st, 2007, 01:39
I only read web comics!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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August 1st, 2007, 03:23
Originally Posted by Pladio View Post
Gorath: The first Asterix movie is just a mixture of some jokes with a beautiful woman and Gerard Depardieu. The second however is so funny. I don't know how it is in German, but in French, wow.
Oh, I thought you were talking about the animated movies.
Of the real movies I only saw parts of the first. Absolutely terrible. The animated pictures are better, but none of them was able to grasp the subtleness and the fine sense of humor of the comic.
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